How a train wreck in the 19th Century was recreated for a film…


Gare de l’Ouest train wreck – 1895
This extraordinary accident occurred on October 22, 1895 at Montparnasse, then known as Gare de l’Ouest. The driver of the express train from Granville to Paris, hoping to make up time for its 131 passengers, increased the train’s speed and the air brake failed…Smashing through the track buffers, the express careered across the station concourse, broke through the station wall, and crashed to the street below, where it remained for four days drawing crowds of curious onlookers.

For Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, New Deal Studios created a 1:4 scale train and station facade and street to recreate the 1895 Gare Montparnasse train derailment in Paris…

And here is how they did it.

[As soon as the final crash ends at 4 minutes 24 seconds, hit the cancel button at the bottom … unless you’re interested in several more short train-related videos. The video carries on into that link automagically.]

Just sayin’

I believe this header went up at the Amazon Prime Video app more than a few days ago. You know what it stands for…as do I. Stop the bigots who’ve decided this is a good time to assault and murder Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders. Creeps who need to hate someone to feel bigger than a pimple on someone’s butt have a tradition of racism to live up to in this land…as we all know.

I don’t watch a great deal of entertainment telly even though I’m a retiree. An hour or two in the evening dividing the time I dedicate to this blog. But, I don’t recall seeing any other similar site taking a stand in solidarity. So, I felt it worth mentioning.

That’s an attaboy, Jeff.

Volcano in Iceland returns to life


Vilhelm Gunnarsson/Getty

After a series of earthquakes in Iceland, the long-dormant volcano Fagradalsfjall erupted on Friday night. The volcano is located nearly 40 miles outside of Reykjavik, the nearest city and the country’s capital, and didn’t threaten any lives or infrastructure damage.

Images of the eruption immediately flooded social media as Iceland residents saw lava and ash from the volcano light up the sky.

The country’s Minister of Justice, Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, took a trip to the volcano as the eruption began to monitor the situation. Sigurbjörnsdóttir posted photos and a live video from the helicopter showing lava oozing down from the eruption.

RTFA. Lots more photos and video. I love Iceland. Haven’t been there in years…and always loved every hour in that beautiful land.

Stunning aurora borealis over Canada viewed from space

Can’t wait till NASA makes 4K (or even 8K) video the standard for satellite videos. Storage volumes have dropped way down in price and the taxpayer money in their pockets can pay for higher res in a New York minute.

I suggest not only clicking on the “expand” icon in the lower RH corner as soon as you start the video running; but, then, move a jot to the left and click the gear shape for settings. No need to change resolution; but, you can reduce playback speed and slow down the pan speed. Way cool! I usually run it at 0.5.

How scary-capable deepfakes have become

This video of Tom Cruise is a computer-generated fake.

In a series of tweets, Rachel Tobac, the CEO of SocialProof Security, warns that deepfakes like @deeptomcruise threaten to further erode public trust in a world where media literacy is poor and people already can’t agree on what’s true or false. Like the black and gold dress, where one person might notice giveaways that the Tom Cruise videos are synthesized, another might not know the signs of a fake and swear up and down that they’re real…

“Just because you feel you can personally tell the difference between synthetic & authentic media, it doesn’t mean we’re good to go,” she says. “It matters what the general public believes.”

Like most longtimey geeks, I recognize the many corrupt uses to which this class of software will be dedicated. Guaranteed. But, I count on…

1. Equally talented geeks coming up with software which will detect and label the criminal and political productions waiting in the wings.

2. Responsible types will publicize the fakes as such…and identify and expose the creepier flavor of geeks out there willing to participate in criminal abuse of advances in technology.

Size of Asteroids vs New York City

3D animator Alvaro Gracia Montoya of MetaBallStudios (previously) created a fascinating, if not terrifying, animation that visually compares the size of exceptional asteroids in our solar system to the tall buildings and soaring skyscrapers of New York City. If any of these hit the Earth it would be devastating.

Wheels down on Mars, once again


First image from Perseverance

NASA folks land on Mars, again. I switched onto the NASA Channel to check on how they were doing…and the lander had chute deployed and about 7 kilometers above the surface of Mars.

It was just halftime in the Europa League football match I was watching; so, I quick ran to get my wet-and-snow walking shoes – to change while watching. I usually start a couple laps of our fenceline at halftime if I’m watching footie and we got a few more inches of snow, last night.

They spiked the landing. Truly fun to watch for an old time science and scifi geek like me. Nice to see reality match fiction.

Check your local TV access for progress!